What you see – Fort Jadhavgad, a heritage hotel takes you back in time with its architectural splendor. In the breathtaking countryside of Saswad village, 25 kilometers from Pune, Fort Jadhavgad was built in 1907 on a hillock, by Pilaji Jadhavrao a valiant Maratha general in the army of Chhatrapati Shahu Ji. The fort took five years to be constructed and gives glimpses of Maratha craftsmanship. It was restored by Vithal Kamat of Orchid Chain of Hotels in 2007 and is now a heritage hotel. The motto of this hotel cum fort reads - Ladh Jaghadh Aage badh - which means struggle and succeed. Well, stands true even to this date.
What you get – Fort Jadhavgad is spread over an expanse of 25 acres and offers loads of intriguing history along with luxurious comfort and hospitality in an eco-friendly environment.
To recreate the pages of history, they have mavalas on the front door greeting you. These are women in traditional nine yard sarees with aarti thali while shehnai (musical instrument) is played in the background. A modern touch is added with a cold towel and a refreshing drink.
As you enter the fort gate and pass the pathways you are completely mesmerized by the mysterious innate charm of this place. To add to the traditional touch, you see names like Kholis for rooms, Kund for swimming pool and Akhada for the health club. In addition, the managers are delegated as kiledars, subedars or swagat kaksha vyavasthapak.
A walk around the property will make you realize that the original look and ambience is retained with massive restorations and additions from their end. The kholis have been created in the side walls of the fortress to avoid damaging the 300 year old structure. They have a mix of beautiful old world charm along with modern amenities like plasma television and electronic safe. In fact you can find the original prehistoric stone walls with the sealed ammunition openings here.
Their multi-cuisine restaurant called Chajja, has a splendid adjacent sit-out. The restaurant serves traditional Maharashtrian dishes along with a mix of Indian and Continental food. MetroMela tasted their achari baingan (brinjal), tambda chicken rassa (Kolhapur curry preparation) and paneer khada masala with hot piping naan. Desserts like walnut fudge and gulab jamuns were tasty too. The restaurant gets its vegetables from its own organic farm. Charcoal Grill is another restaurant here while Bawdi is its pool bar. The hotel is also into rainwater harvesting.
The highlight of the property is the museum comprising Vithal Kamat’s personal collection called AAI dedicated to the memories of his mother. This two level museum recreated in the old stables of the fort, showcases day to day traditional artifacts used in every home. Most of the artifacts, furniture and jewelry displayed here are in excellent condition with detailed craftsmanship. Given a chance, do tour the scary dungeons and the wine cellar as well.
Our verdict – Fort Jadhavgad is a great place for a tourist to stay for its historical ambience as well as modern facilities. It is also apt for corporate outings and weddings as they offer huge lawns and excellent packages with special musical and dance programs like lavni (traditional Marathi dance form), ghazal programs, hasya kavitas etc. Day trip facilities are also offered. Customer service is impeccable. The prices of the rooms are pretty steep starting at around Rs. 16,000 and go upwards for royal suites.